The Returner - lightnovelgate.com
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(TL: Friday the 13th!! Yikes!)
Seo Ah-Young's response was instantaneous.
"Mister Choi Jung-Hoon!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Yes, ma'am!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Send the request for reinforcements to the local branch! And call Seoul, tell our guys who are available to get their a*ses over here right now!!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"But, the distance is…" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Tell Hae-Min to come along, too!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Understood!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon hurriedly pulled out his phone while running outside.
"Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!!" (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young spoke up as her face filled up with desperation.
"Please, help us." (Seo Ah-Young)
"Ah? What you want now?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
…And as expected, he sounded curt.
And boy, did he sound unhappy or what?
So much negative emotions welling up inside him caused his cheeks to puff up noticeably and seemed ready to go burst at any moment.
Seo Ah-Young felt her own anger rise up, but she was well aware of her own 'guilt' from just now, so she still righted her posture and began pleading in earnest.
"I'm really sorry for asking you, but…" (Seo Ah-Young)
"If you are really sorry, then please, stop talking." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"But, the issue currently facing us is just too…." (Seo Ah-Young)
"Well, everyone has their own issues to deal with." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn't give a rat's a*s about her issues.
"I can't stop them by myself. No, I can certainly try, but I still won't be able to prevent them from entering the city. Even a single one of them would cause a catastrophic damage! Evacuation has not been carried out yet!" (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted derisively.
"You know, I have no idea why you're telling me that. You see, I'm now a member of South Korea's penal system, so I can't help you even if I could. Hey, mister policeman? Can you get me a blanket? I want to get some sleep." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk then lied down on the spot, causing Seo Ah-Young to become very restless.
"I'm not asking you just to bother you and annoy you, but because, if you don't lend your aid right now, many hundreds of people will lose their lives today!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Aigoo~. Since when did the Korean government officials go around asking for help from a convict?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young screamed inwardly as she lashed out at her own waist.
If she knew this would happen, she'd have released him sooner!
Just why did she have to drive in that stupid final nail, as if she had become blinded by the thoughts of revenge?
And, just why did those mothereffing monsters have to appear today, and right this minute, as a matter of fact? Worst of all, why here?!
"Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Hmph!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Please, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk…" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Ptooi!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Argh, please, just help!!" (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nonchalantly dug his ear with his pinky finger, then blew away the resulting matter on the fingertip, before speaking up.
"You looked like you could take care of everything all by yourself, so I don't get what you're trying to achieve here, you know? I mean, other people might develop a misunderstanding and think I'm being a stubborn mule or something." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"But, but! Didn't we help you out before?" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Yeah, so, like, I want to do something for you, too. But, you see, the thing is, I'm a convict now, so… What can I do, eh? I mean, it's my fault for being a dumba*s who lacks common sense and goes around committing crime, right? Oh well. Mister Judge, I'm sorry for being ignorant. Please go light with my sentencing, please!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young's face reddened in fury.
She hated him.
She really hated this human being.
Unfortunately, she needed the help of this detestable individual right now.
Seo Ah-Young's resolution became only firmer.
She stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk for a bit, before she suddenly bent her back and bowed deeply to him.
"And now, what are you doing?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Please, lend us your aid." (Seo Ah-Young)
"I'm not the type to change his mind just because of this, though?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"If you don't help us today, many innocent people will lose their lives. I am well aware that you don't hold any good opinion on us, the KSF. I also know that you don't want to get involved with us. However, the situation has become too critical. I am begging you. Please, just this once, help us." (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk glanced at Seo Ah-Young and her deeply bowed head and smirked slightly.
"You know, I'm not quite sure what you see in me. Why do you keep asking me for help?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Please, I beg of you." (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk studied her for a bit.
"Hey, lift up your head." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Are you going to help us?" (Seo Ah-Young)
Of course, Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head.
"Nope. I hate relationships like that. And let's be honest here, we're not in a relationship where you and I can ask for each other's help, right?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The emotions of disappointment began clouding Seo Ah-Young's expressions. Yi Ji-Hyuk simply smirked at that.
"Instead, let's do it this way." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Eh?" (Seo Ah-Young)
"₩100,000,000 per monster." (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL: just under $90,000 USD)
"100 million?!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"I believe it's not that high an amount, though?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"It's impossible for us to prepare such a sum of money right now. How about 10 million?" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Even if striking a deal involves haggling, isn't it too much to start your offer at one tenths of the original asking point? Heck, not even at the halfway mark?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"We are only civil servants, you know! All our operating cost comes from the annual budget. Plus, even 10 million per monster is too much, considering that we don't have any legal framework to rely on! It's only because the situation is critical right now!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Feels like I'm getting cheated out of something here…" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Please!! Now isn't the time for this!" (Seo Ah-Young)
As if he couldn't help it, Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head.
"Okay, fine. Only this time, though. Got that? You better not think of using this incident as a precedence and ask me to keep fighting for you. Or else." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"I'll try." (Seo Ah-Young)
"What the…. Your answer is really unconvincing, you know." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Still, Yi Ji-Hyuk loosened his neck muscles and got up from his spot.
"Oh well. That's that taken care of." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Money was one thing, and sure, and Seo Ah-Young's serious, earnest attitude was definitely something he might not see ever again, but those weren't the true reasons why he decided to act today.
The real reason was he kind of felt… not so good.
No, he hadn't suddenly developed the so-called case of "hero of justice" syndrome, where he wanted to jump into the den of extreme danger for the sake of everyone. But, as a fellow human being, something just didn't feel right.
How should he describe this…?
Well, you know. That thing.
That thing that made anyone with half a working mind, upon seeing a young child frolicking dangerously close to the edge of a body of water, would start inching nearer the said water and get ready to act, in case something bad happens.
Or, when seeing a child about to fall into a well, people would rush in to help.
Indeed, he possessed at least the modicum of instincts regular human beings all seemed to possess.
Yes, he felt rather 'not so good' about doing nothing while other people got killed off by annoying small fries in his vicinity. It's not like the favour asked of him was difficult, either.
'I'm going to make money, too.'
Right now, his precious 100 million Won whale had disappeared in a cloud of bubbles like a mermaid princess, so, through this method, he'd make back the necessary loot now!
"So, let me get this straight. One monster killed equals ten million, right?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Heck, this was like walking into the proverbial gold mine!
Now that he thought about it quickly, this whole thing about 'getting a contract with the government and working for a bit when his cash reserve ran dry', didn't seem so bad now.
Seriously, wave his fingers around for a bit and live the entire year without worries or needs, then repeat the same thing the following year!
Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked deeply.
Well, that was easier said than done, actually.
His help was needed because of the current situation being a unique one, but if this was any other time, when people could prepare well in advance before a Gate opened up, then there would be absolutely no need to hire a mercenary to deal with the threat at all.
Besides, if they needed his help, then that meant an existence they couldn't deal with had popped out from the Gate….
By then, one shouldn't worry about hiring mercenaries and whatever, and instead, be terrified by the prospect of the world coming to an end.
Oh well, I'll worry about that when it happens.
Right now, the problem is the pile of money… no, wait, I mean, the monsters right in front of me! (Yi Ji-Hyuk's inner musings)
"Hey, can you open this door for me? I don't want to break it open lest I get scolded later." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young quickly instructed the officers to unlock the holding cell's door.
Yi Ji-Hyuk surveyed his left and right as he left the cell, then stretched his open hand towards Seo Ah-Young.
"I'm paying you afterwards!!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Not that." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Eh?" (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk's eyes shone brightly as he made his demand.
"I want my tofu." (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end of the chapter.)
Despair began to creep into Seo Ah-Young's mind.
'Did I do the right thing by releasing this guy?' (Seo Ah-Young)
Perhaps, she should've kept him locked up for the sake of humanity. Hers, mostly.
Reluctantly withdrawing his hand, Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze towards the monsters emerging from the ocean and giggled like a little kid.
"Welcome to Earth, you fools." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"What? You can't contact him?" (Choi Jung-Hoon) (TL: Not specified in the raw who is being referred to here. Assuming to be a he.)
Choi Jung-Hoon frowned deeply.
"F*ck! What the hell do you expect me to do in this situation, then?! Didn't I tell you to always keep proper tabs on him?!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
- "My apologies, sir…" (Kim Jae-Beom)
"You think your apologies can help us right now?!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon screamed at the smartphone's receiver while clenching his fist real tightly.
He knew that getting angry wasn't going to solve anything. He also knew this wasn't Kim Jae-Beom's fault, either.
He knew those points very well. He knew. Yet…
Thick droplets of perspiration formed on Choi Jung-Hoon's forehead.
The police officers were doing their best to evacuate the surrounding areas, and the local KSF agents were on their way here, but…. their arrival would be too late by then.
'Can they do it?' (Choi Jung-Hoon)
In order to minimise the civilian fatality, Seo Ah-Young needed to do everything in her power to halt the monsters' advance.
Unfortunately, she was a support-type ability user.
In the cases where she had to fight against numerous creatures alone, even if a single one managed to get close to her, she'd be left completely vulnerable.
"Yi Ji-Hyuk, Yi Ji-Hyuk!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon shouted at the phone again.
"Okay, do whatever you can to find him and send them here as soon as possible!!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
- "Yes sir. Understood!" (Kim Jae-Beom)
As soon as the call ended, he ran towards the coastline.
For now, he had done everything he could do, and called everyone he was supposed to. Literally, there was nothing more for him to do anymore.
No, there was one more thing left he should do. And that was to secure Yi Ji-Hyuk, if that youth decided not to cooperate today.
Choi Jung-Hoon ran with all his might and soon, the wide-open sea entered his vision.
"What….?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
It was right then, he became utterly speechless at the spectacle unfolding right before his eyes.
"Uh?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at the monsters walking up to the shore and tilted his head.
"Aren't they… Lizardmen?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
They were holding some sort of trident in their hands.
They were covered in scales, and their forked tongues continued to flick in and out.
Well, no matter what, they definitely looked like Lizardmen.
Yi Ji-Hyuk felt his own common sense get stepped on ruthlessly and couldn't help but to click his tongue in annoyance.
"What the hell. How does this even makes sense?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The first Lizardman to make the landfall spotted him and rushed towards his direction with that trident pointing at his throat.
"Frogs like you…" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk's fist landed solidly on the chin of the Lizardman and blew it away.
"….Are supposed to live in freshwater, you f*ckers!!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Like a mortar round shooting out into the enemy territory, the flying Lizardman drew a perfect arc and plunged into the sea, raising a spectacular spray of water.
"Can't you just stay within the boundaries of common sense, ah?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Of course, Yi Ji-Hyuk lacked the qualifications to say such things. Not that he cared.
'Again, slightly different…' (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
This was getting more and more irritating now.
By what, you ask? The thing where he continuously ran into monsters that were only slightly altered from what he knew, as well as this uncomfortable feeling of Gates following him around wherever he went.
He tried to ignore these points, but that only left a sour taste in his mouth.
Would a Gate open up in the sea, if he hadn't come here today?
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue again, but his expression hardened after three Lizardmen rushed at him.
It'd be very easy to resolve this situation if he had Mana remaining, but all he had now was his body.
So, he'd have to use it efficiently.
Three tridents aimed at his head, chest and legs.
Yi Ji-Hyuk's body seemed to turn into a string all of a sudden as he evaded all three tridents.
As the Lizardmen became defenseless for a moment, Yi Ji-Hyuk kicked one of them away and he landed a devastating blow to another one's belly.
Accompanied by a clean impact sound, that Lizardman got blown away.
As for the remaining one…
Yi Ji-Hyuk simply grabbed the neck of the remaining Lizardman and slammed the creature to the ground. And not changing his posture, his right fist punched the monster's face.
After receiving three straight hits to its face, the Lizardman trembled pathetically, then it went limp.
Yi Ji-Hyuk quietly stared at the dead Lizardman.
Come on, come out.
Come out, now! (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
From the dead Lizardman, a minute amount of Mana leaked out. Grinning widely, Yi Ji-Hyuk activated Drain.
After absorbing every bit of leaked Mana, a smile of satisfaction crept up on his face.
With this Mana, he'd be able to….
"Get out of the way!!!" (Seo Ah-Young)
When he turned his head to look, Yi Ji-Hyuk found Seo Ah-Young glaring at his direction while carrying a ball of flames as big as a house.
"….No, she wouldn't…. Would she?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And, Seo Ah-Young threw the flaming ball towards his direction.
Technically, she was aiming at the horde of Lizardmen beyond Yi Ji-Hyuk's location, but still…
The issue was with him just about being included within the radius of the upcoming explosion.
"Did she lose her damn mind?!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk hurriedly jumped out of the way.
The shockwave from the whirlwind of explosion swept up above the ocean's surface.
Somehow barely escaping from the explosion zone, Yi Ji-Hyuk began shouting at her.
"If you don't want to give me the money, just say so, will ya?! Stop trying to kill me!!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young clicked her tongue as if she was in regret over something, then spoke up.
"Then, why are you wasting time fooling around like that? Can't you just blow them away like the last time?" (Seo Ah-Young)
"What last time?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Last time, when you killed that stone monster." (Seo Ah-Young)
"But, I never did that, though?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"I saw you with my own two eyes! You standing on top of that building's roof!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"But, uh, that wasn't me…" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Just come out and say it was you, since very, ve~ry few people walk around wearing such a worn-out blue tracksuit like yours." (Seo Ah-Young)
"WTF. I'm not the only one wearing tracksuits in the world, you know…" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Realising that he couldn't prevent his excuses from getting lamer at this point in time, Yi Ji-Hyuk decided to quickly changed the topic.
"No, besides that, you still tried to…!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"I told you, you'll get paid!!" (Seo Ah-Young)
"Hey, I think you're mistaken about something here…." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Back then, I had enough Mana.
Right now, I don't have a lot of Mana left, you know!
With Mana, I can sweep these small fries away with a flick of my finger, sure, but now…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk complaining inwardly)
Currently, Yi Ji-Hyuk was exactly like a rechargeable battery.
He had to be topped up with Mana after expanding some.
Sure, dealing with these small fries wasn't a big problem with Mana on hand.
However, the real issue was….
"Uh?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Did the number of Lizardmen increase while we're talking or something?
Let's see… aren't there over a hundred of them here….?
What the, the number's still increasing?
With a slightly stupefied face, Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze to the distant ocean.
Like an army of ants, monsters were continuously streaming in.
"Huh. A pretty big Gate must've opened up, eh." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
But, it didn't matter.
If he continued to kill a few and absorb their Mana, soon he'd have enough for these small fri….
It was just then - from the far distance, a super-loud and heavy howling resounded out.
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked out even further.
A huge black shadow slowly approached the surface near the horizon, and then, it began to swim closer to the shore.
"Did the oceans get mad at me for catching a whale?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Somehow, things were getting complicated even more.
< 42.="" please,="" have="" some="" common="" sense!="" -2=""> Fin.
(TL: The thing about receiving tofu is a somewhat weird "tradition" in South Korean prison culture. When one is released from the extended stay behind the bars, his/her mates or family members waiting outside the prison gates are supposed to hand over a block of tofu to you to chow down on. The story goes, when you're inside, you're deprived of proper minerals and balanced meals, and so, rather ceremoniously, the "miracle health food" tofu is provided in order to bolster your physique as you leave incarceration. Or something like that. I'm not quite sure if other cultures outside of East Asia has something similar to this, but if there is, please comment below. Thanks.)